By Tobi Awodipe
Focusing on technologically enabled early stage startups in the stages of prototyping and building an actual product, Techpoint Africa is calling on these startups to participate in the Techpoint Build 2019 pitch storm where a startup will walk away with $10,000 equity-free.
Speaking at the launch of the project, founder and publisher Techpoint Africa, Adewale Yusuf, said, “The initiative is to power the next billion users; we need startups that can come up with brilliant ideas to solve local problems. We also need finance, mentorship and market for these startups as well. This is what Techpoint Build 2019 (West African edition) is planning to address by bringing everyone to the table (people with ideas, companies that are already solving problems and possible investors) under one roof.”
Editor and co-founder of Techpoint Africa, Muyiwa Matuluko said it is important to share stories, whether they are success or failure stories as this inspires others and people can learn from the mistakes of others
“Techpoint Build is an extension of the conversations we have on the site and was inspired by the questions people kept asking us. People wanted to know how startups raise money; how they get funding, things to avoid, whom to collaborate with and so on. Since there’s little we can discuss online, we decided to put together an event that would answer all these questions.”
On what to expect at the next TechPoint Build, Yusuf, who started his business in 2015 said, “For the first time, you would see startups from different countries in West Africa coming together, including Portuguese, French and English speaking African nations coming together on one stage to pitch. Even the speakers would come from different countries and would speak on how they are impacting the economy(ies) of their respective countries and how participants can leverage on what is available to build their own economy. There would be networking and meeting of investors from all over different parts of Africa and the diaspora. We are expecting over 5,000 people from all over Africa, it is going to be huge.”
“People want to invest in Nigeria, they are looking at opportunities in startups but don’t know where to go, so this would afford the opportunity for like-minded individuals to meet and parley. Attendees would be blown away with what they will meet on ground because we will exceed expectations.
“People can expect an SME Clinic tailored towards small businesses and how they can grow their business in a fast-paced technological world. A deal room, which is a forum in Techpoint with an opportunity of possible investors. This forum is open to businesses looking for investment opportunities. Pitch storm, which is an opportunity for a startup/SME to win $10,000 by pitching their business and finally, Developer Clinics, because Africa is in dire need of excellent software developers to power the next billion users. We will be training individuals interested in programing for a day at the event, to give them the basic knowledge about what they need to become developers.”
With technology, Yusuf stressed that one’s services and products could reach any part of the world. “Technology helps the smallest business to grow provided you leverage on it well. Tech start up failure is inevitable but with the right statistics and information, this problem is gradually reducing. I want people to come and meet the right investors that will partner with them because sometimes, partnership is more important than funding. Meet people that would improve your network, mentor you and put you on the right path.”
The company, Yusuf said, is partnering with some like-minded firms on driving technology in the remotest areas, advising and teaching people on how to improve startups and businesses.
“We are going round the country region by region on a guided tour to advise businesses on how to scale, who they should partner with and introduce them to necessary connections.
Things like this are usually limited to big cities like Lagos and Abuja and if we truly want to spread the gospel of tech, it is imperative we visit other states and places that don’t have these opportunities.
Yusuf went on to add that their aim is to bridge the gap and take tech solutions mainstream all over Africa as they have grown from just a reporting company to an intelligence, data-driven company
Another speaker and partner of Techpoint Build, Adetoye Aguessy, CEO of RightCom, a data analysis and experience management platform, said there is so much going on in the African tech space presently and now is the time to showcase it to the world. “In terms of size, number of thriving startups and innovation, Nigeria and Benin Republic are at par but in terms of funding, Benin Republic is far ahead of Nigeria. I’m excited to meet the pool of talents from Nigeria, connect with them and give them the opportunity to liaise with the right people that will grow them exponentially.”